Using only the finest Aberdeen Teabags

This t-shirt is dangerously close to copyright infringement, but I got a good chuckle out of it anyway.

My favorite part is where it instructs you to “Just add warm milk and laxatives”.  No word on whether it tastes better with cherry flavored antacids

http://www.bathroomwall.co.uk/store/nirvana-inspired-pennyroyal-tea-tshirtpnirvana-grunge-tshirt-p-803.html?zenid=9nvj33gk5ppoplf7odl5phpob0

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Sometimes, my mind isn’t so beautiful

I read today that the Northern White Rhino has only 4 left in the world, and upon reading the article, I got a song stuck in my head.  I had to keep singing until I got to the chorus, but when I got there, it wasn’t pretty.

The song is called “Countdown to Extinction” by Megadeth

Other species have died since I’ve been on this planet, but for some reason this one seems worse to me.  Maybe it’s because the size of the animal.

In a Sublime mood today

and when a Music Nerd says that, they mean they feel like listening to Sublime.  Sublime were a band from Southern California who broke onto the national music scene in 1996 with a genre-less pop song called “What I Got”.  Not terribly long after they gained national popularity, lead singer Bradley Nowell was found dead of a heroin overdose.  That left new fans searching for whatever they could find to dig deeper into a band that was suddenly on the scene and just as suddenly no longer around.

What I found was these two songs:

Pool Shark was on Robbin the Hood, the album that came out before they broke out of SoCal.  I know it as a 0:57 second blast of practically prophetic punk rock, but many others know it with the slow verse/chorus before.  It’s a song about how Bradley knows that heroin is bad for him, but his addiction is getting the best of him.  Poignant lyrics include:  “I’ve got the needle/i shake but I can’t breathe/take it away but i want more and more/one day i’m gonna lose the war”.

Date Rape is some of the most socially-conscious songs to ever come out of ska music.  Yes, that’s a small category, but the song isn’t the only member.  The first time I heard this song, it was on the radio and for the first two verses, I was seething with anger, but the verse about the court room though, I was grinning from ear to ear.  I went from thinking “how could a song about a man buying a woman drinks, taking her home and raping her even be played on the radio” to “I’m so glad that he didn’t get away with it”.  Shortly thereafter, the video Sublime had made for the song began to get rotation on cable/satellite music video channels (remember those?).  Totally lo-fi, but dig the inmate at the end.  Props to Ron Jeremy for playing the part of “large inmate”.  I’m smiling even typing that line.

One of my favorite albums gets some love

Apple recently launched Apple Music, meant to be a competitor of services like Pandora and Spotify.  As a MacBook owner and iTunes account holder, I was offered a 3 month free trial, which I turned down.  As a result, I didn’t know that something happened on June 30 where I would have lost my ever-loving mind.

Setting the stage:

Trent Reznor was a minority owner of Beats by Dre.  As an advocate of high quality aduio, Mr Reznor became part owner of beats because of the quality of their audio listening experience.  Beats as a company was rather recently sold to Apple and lost their “by Dre” moniker.

The late unveiling:

When Apple Music launched, one of the pieces of new music made available on the service was an instrumental version of Nine Inch Nails’ 1999 album The Fragile.  Not only that, but there were three previously unreleased instrumental tracks released as a part of this collection.  One of those was an instrumental version of “10 Miles High”, under a different name, so I won’t cover that again here.

I’ve been checking the internet on occasion, waiting for a deluxe edition of this album, or even a vinyl re-release.  I’m still holding my breath for a 2019 deluxe edition (20th anniversary, obviously).  In the mean time, if I’ve got to use this tracks to tide me over while I wait, it’ll do Mr. Reznor, but I want more.

It Was 20 Years Ago Today…July 1995

Presidents of the United States of America:  Presidents of the United States of America

First off, I would like to apologize, this 20th anniversary review is approximately five days late, which was the re-release of the album anyway, but I’ve got my whole list of monthly write ups and mistook the major label release date as the original release date.  My apologies, I hope you can forgive me for such a fundamental error.  Right, on with the show.

This album absolutely provided a bridge for me between awkward junior high me, listening to comedy and novelty songs on a Sunday night radio station (I’m looking at you Weird Al, Kip Adotta and Bananas at Large) and awkward high school me, listening to alternative radio, but still enjoying quirky songs.  Without this album, I have no idea how long it would have taken for me to discover the MC5.

The Presidents, or PUSA, or PotUSA, were one of the last gasps for new music from the “Seattle Scene”.  Their schtick was twofold; one, they basically wrote children’s music for adults, and two, between their electric guitar and bass, they had five strings between them.  They sang songs about being annoyed by a cat, succulent peaches, and the missed connection singles section at the back of a free Seattle magazine.

The album starts off with the all out guitar assault introduction that is “Kitty” before the first lyrics of the album, namely “meow, meow/meow, meow, meow meow” kicks in.  When the song takes over in full force, it’s a straightforward tale of a cat that’s been outside all night, comes in for a brief moment, and then asks to be let outside.  The owner doesn’t immediately want the cat to go back out, and the cat turns on the owner to scratch them through their jeans.  The ending of the song states emphatically “fuck you kitty/you’re gonna spend the night OUTSIDE”.

Track three, “Lump”, was the number one most requested song of 1995 on Seattle radio station KNDD.  It tells a tale of a woman whom the narrator of the song continually thinks about that seems to limp their way through life faster than he can keep up.  The song and the story are both very catchy and get stuck in your head for long stretches of time.  That seems to be at least part of the appeal of PUSA, their songs are simple, repetitive, and catchy, especially on this, their debut album.

Track four, “Stranger” was my first introduction to the band.  The song is titled after a free newspaper from Seattle.  The Stranger itself makes enough money through advertising and classified ads, most controversially for professional “escorts”, that it is able to maintain its status as free.  Dan Savage, author of Savage Love, still publishes in The Stranger and lives in Seattle, though now he is a nationally known syndicated columnist.  Anyway, back to PUSA.  One section of the classified ads is a section called “I Saw U”, which is all about trying to track down missed connections.  The Presidents used the concept behind these sometimes awkward and unintentionally hilarious snippets to form the lyrics of the song.  The first example in the lyrics is “You: Lynyrd Skynyrd hat/me: little kiddie/sat across with a velvet jacket/wild orange hair and dark, dark eyes/I gawked like a 12 year old smitten/Carla the stripper/straight from LA/you seemed cool for a naked chick in a booth/let’s be pals some day/in other words, put some clothes on and call me”.  What can I say, kids music for adults.  Simple straightforward, easy to understand lines that get stuck in your head and never leave.

Perhaps their most famous track, “Peaches” received loads of frequent MTV airplay after this band received national attention.  Lyrically, the song is about the singer’s love of peaches and how he would love to have millions for free.  I have a sneaking suspicion that he’s not talking about the fruit, but maybe a euphemism for something else.  What I am uncertain about is whether he’s referring to southern belles specifically or lady parts in general.  I’m almost positive that the lead singer has never let his true inspiration be known on this matter.  But it doesn’t matter, because you’re drawn in anyway.

Two of my favorite tracks on the album are back-to-back and barely over three minutes in total.  The first, “We Are Not Going To Make It” seemed like a rallying cry for my friend and me at the time because we were just learning to play instruments and didn’t have the skills to make catchy music.  With lyrics such as “we don’t have the talent/and we don’t have the time/we don’t have the patience/and we don’t know hot to rhyme”, the song seemed tailor made for struggling bands to take on and make their own.  The second track of this duo was “Kick Out the Jams”, which is almost diametrically opposite from the message of the previous song.  Sample lyric, “I’ve been elected to rock your asses till midnight”.  Little did I know at the time, but this song, which isn’t a straight cover, but changes the lyrics quite a bit, would be my introduction to the great proto-punk band the MC5, who rankled radio stations with their debut album, Kick out the Jams.  Thank you, PotUSA, for placing me down that road toward the discovery of such a pivotal band in the evolution of punk rock.

Skipping ahead a few tracks, the final song on the album, “Naked and Famous”, was the source of endless debate among my friends, mostly because nobody could decide whether the lines was “thirty foot smirks” or “thirty foot Smurfs”.  Now, neither is beyond the stretches of the imagination for such a band to write, but I’ve always favored the former to the latter, mostly because it goes with the rest of my interpretation of the song.  In using a play on words, rather nakedly laid bare, everybody wants to be famous.  The song is about many acquaintances and their brushes and struggles with fame.

The Presidents of the United States of America remain intermittently active today, and have turned Presidents Day weekend (it IS their weekend after all) into PUSAfest.  They have held forth for several years at the Crocodile Cafe over that three day weekend, frequently playing three shows with no repeated tracks.  In 2014, before the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl victory, they released the track “Blitz”, which received major radio play in the Seattle area.  Chris Ballew, has made a name for himeself as Caspar Babypants, a children’s song performer, which isn’t to terribly far off from his PUSA gig.  In 1998, the band got together with Seattle rap icon Sir Mix-a-Lot to form the short-lived supergroup Subset, who released only one official track, but played a handful of shows.

DAWES

On Thursday, I had a chance to pick up the latest album by Dawes, an indie rock band from Los Angeles.

I have two of their previous albums, so this is not a new band discovery for me, I knew what I was getting.  What surprised me was the fact that the title track, All Your Favorite Bands, was going to be so good.

It seems to be a track that simultaneously tells old friends to enjoy the time they have while chastising them for not thinking too far into the future.

As of current, this song is going to rank very high on my Best of 2015 list.  Welcome back, Dawes!

Dinosaur Pancakes Infrastructure turns 20

As of tomorrow, a song I co-wrote 20 years ago is available for free download via

https://bobandthedangerousbrothers.bandcamp.com/releases

My friend and I wrote the song when we were first getting into the idea of making our own music.  He has gone on to perform it in every band he’s even been in (even the heavier punk bands).  I played my part in recording the first full band demo for posterity in 1998.  He took the song to higher levels in 2004 with his performance art/joke band Bob and the Dangerous Brothers.  It has become one of their more popular songs in concert, and was even included on their self-released greatest hits album.

The song, “Dinosaur Pancakes Infrastructure”, is really a bunch of intentionally non-rhyming (and one accidentally rhyming) lines strung together with a beat that propels the song.  As I’ve stated before, the highest complement I have ever received was when a friend of mine said that “there was a little bit of that punk nugget in that song you co-wrote”.

For the 20th anniversary, both co-authors have created a remix, me by adding backward piano and soliciting a violin player from where I work, and he by using rap producer DJ DSauced to add bass back beat, scratching records and more to the Dangerous Brothers track.

Now, for the low low price of nothing, you can get five versions of the song, dating back to the original shambolic and lo-fi punk nugget from 20 years ago, recorded direct to tape using vintage audio recording equipment.
Of course, you can pay more, if you like.

So order half a dozen cinnamon rolls, grab your loaf of bread, and enjoy a heaping stack of Dinosaur Pancakes.

Damn right I co-wrote that song,

Seattle Music Nerd

Welcome back, Eleni Mandell

One of the artists I have discovered since signing up for NoiseTrade was Eleni Mandell who released a sample of her work, Babies, Boys and Bumpers on that site.

One of the advantages of liking her music and downloading her proffered album was that I was signed up for her mailing list.

Today, I received notice that her new album, titled Dark Lights Up, is now available for pre-order and will be released on July 24.

Here’s a touching and amusing video for a song from her upcoming album;

Here’s where you can download a sample of her work from NoiseTrade:

http://noisetrade.com/elenimandell/babies-boys-bumpers

And here’s where you can pre-order her new album, if you’re so inclined:

http://yeproc.11spot.com/eleni-mandell-dark-lights-up-pre-order-7-24.html

Ennio Morricone to score Hateful Eight

Ennio Morricone, whose name is practically synonymous with the western film genre, was recently revealed to be returning to the genre for the first time in 40 years to write the score for Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming film The Hateful Eight.

Below is a link to the article, which provides a recap of the Hateful Eight panel at San Diego’s Comic-Con:

http://variety.com/2015/film/news/comic-con-quentin-tarantinos-hateful-eight-gets-ennio-morricone-score-new-poster-1201538502/

And here’s the video of the Comic-Con panel:

The film will begin a limited run on Christmas Day, seeing wide release in January 2016.